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Not guilty plea entered for Hall in APS cheating scandal

6:08 PM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Hall arrives at court

Video: APS educators arraigned in cheating scandal

Video: Not guilty plea entered for Hall in APS cheating scandal

  • Beverly Hall, 66, former superintendent
  • Ex-Atlanta Public School Superintendent Beverly Hall arrives at court with her attorney J. Tom Morgan on Friday, May 3, 2013.
    

ATLANTA - Former Atlanta Public School Superintendent Beverly Hall has waived her arraignment on charges in connection with the APS cheating scandal.

A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf by the court druing the Friday morning hearing.

Hall arrived at court Friday morning, accompanied by her attorney J. Tom Morgan.

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Hall's lawyers promised a strong defense, and are calling the allegations against her in a grand jury indictment "vague and ambiguous." Her legal team is also challenging the grand jury itself, saying it came from a "flawed" jury pool.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter set a trial date for all 35 defendants in the case, for May 5, 2014. Morgan said Friday morning that the trial surrounding the APS cheating scandal could be the "longest trial in Georgia history." 

Judge Baxter joked that "we may have to rent an abandoned Kroger" to handle all of the defendants.

Some lawyers say preparing for trial will be overwhelming.

"We're going to come with a strategyjust to handle the volume of evidence," said attorney Elliott Baer. "It has the potential to be hundreds of thousands of records."

11Alive's Jerry Carnes says the judge has lifted the gag order on those charged in the case, which would allow them to speak to the media.

Several defendants needed to find new lawyers. A hearing for those individuals will happen on May 16. A hearing on motions will occur on June 12.

Baxter has given Hall and the other defendants until January 2014 to decide if they want to plead guilty or to go to trial.

"Enevitably, some will decide to take care of this without trial," said attorney Bob Rubin. "We're going to trial and we are preparing."

Hall is charged along with 34 other former APS educators on criminal counts including racketeering and conspiracy.

A state investigation in 2010 showed evidence of cheating by teachers and administrators in the school system's administration of the standardized CRCT exam. Hall, cited as national Superintendet of the Year in 2009, retired in 2010.

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